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Aboriginal missions in South Australia: Killalpaninna

Guide to resources relating to the history of Aboriginal missions in South Australia including records created by these missions.


AIATSIS. South Australian Protector's reports can be browsed by year. Keyword searching within each report can locate relevant information.

German Missionaries in Australia (Griffith University)

Lutheran Church of Australia archives

Killalpaninna records

Records for the Killalpaninna Mission are held at Lutheran Church of Australia archives in Adelaide and the AIATSIS Library in Canberra.

The Library holds Guide to records of Indigenous Australians in the Lutheran Archives, Adelaide, SA which contains name indexes for various registers and files relating to the Killalpaninna mission.

Periodical articles

Church Heritage, v. 12, no. 1, Mar 2001. Edwards, Bill. 'Moravian missionaries to Aboriginal Australia : Part 2: Victoria and South Australia.'

Journal of Friends of Lutheran Archives. no. 4, Oct 1994. Riedel, W. 'Bethesda Mission, Killalpaninna, 1908/1914.'

To locate more journal articles, access the State Library's eResources.

Selected Australian newspapers, published prior to 1955, have been digitised as part of the National Library of Australia’s Trove website.

Further newspaper articles may be identified by using the following, Newspaper index : references to Aborigines in Adelaide newspapers, 1836-1940, 1989.

Getting started

This guide to sources relating to the Killalpaninna Mission was last updated by Library staff in 2016. It comprises selected material held by the State Library or available online, and includes resources referring to an earlier mission at Kopperamanna.

To find further material relevant to this topic, try searching with these subject headings in the State Library catalogue:


Or conduct a keyword search using the following terms:

Coopers Creek and mission*


For more assistance, talk with staff at the Library's Information Desk or Ask Us.

Books and pamphlets

A summary of the history of the Killalpaninna mission can be found on the Find and Connect website.

Edwards, Bill. “The Moravian Church in South Australia” in Monteath, Peter (ed.) Germans: Travellers, Settlers and Their Descendants in South Australia, 2011. pp. 41-62. Also available as an eBook to customers with a State Library card.

Jericho, Helen. Down memory lane : memoirs of Helen Jericho, 1975.

Jones, Philip and Sutton, Peter. Art and land : Aboriginal sculptures of the Lake Eyre Region, 1986.

Proeve, E. H. A work of love and sacrifice: the story of the mission among the Dieri tribe at Cooper's Creek, 1952

Proeve, E. H. Three missionary pioneers, 1946.

Proeve, E. H. A scattered homeless flock: mission among the Dieri1945.

Scherer, P.A. (comp). Select letters from the outback 1994.

Schmiechen, H.J. The Hermannsburg Mission Society in Australia 1866-1895 : changing missionary attitudes and their effects on the Aboriginal inhabitants, 1971.

Schmidt, T. M. The life of H.H. Vogelsang - a pioneer lay-missionary on the Cooper's Creek…, 1966.

Stevens, Christine. White man's dreaming: Killalpaninna Mission 1866-1915, 1994. (This has been indexed, to see records enter the title in the source field of the Library catalogue.) Also available online

Survival in our own land : 'Aboriginal' experiences in 'South Australia' since 1836, Ch. 22 ‘Kopperamanna and Killalpaninna’, p. 189-194  and  Ch. 31 ‘Finnis Springs’, p. 251-253

Tochler, Helen. Seed of the coolibah: a history of the Yandrunwandha and Yawarrawarrka people, 2003.

Killalpaninna Mission

Killalpaninna Mission, 1907. B 470.

Archival material

Papers of Miss Frieda Bogner chiefly comprising views of Killalpaninna taken during the incumbency of her father Pastor Johann Bogner as superintendent of Bethesda Lutheran Mission.

Jericho, Helen. Papers of Mrs Helen Thelka Jericho mainly relating to her family and Bethesda Mission on Lake Killalpaninna.

Love, J.R.B. Account of a visit to the Lutheran Mission at Killalpaninna, December 1910.

Somerville, James. Notes on Cooper's Creek including a magazine article 'The Cooper's Creek Controversies' by F.L. Parker and J.D. Somerville.

Rebecca Maltilina and Dorothea Ruediger

Dieri woman Rebecca Maltilina and friend, Dorothea Ruediger met during their childhood, when Dorothea’s father worked on the Killalpaninna mission station. After Dorothea moved away the two became pen pals. Some of the postcards they exchanged are in State Library's collection. Letters by Rebecca Maltilina, 1907-1917.

More information about their friendship can be found in the following articles.

Austin, Peter. “Diyari Language Postcards and Diyari Literacy”
Care, Christine and Gunson, Niel. “Postcards : a source of Aboriginal biography”  both in Aboriginal History, 1986. v. 10 no. 2.